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Yokohama legal firm refuses to return passport to Filipino woman

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Madness. What moral right does any employer have to possess an employee's passport? Bizarre. We're not living in feudal serfdom times here in 21st century Japan. Oh wait..

39 ( +43 / -4 )

Hmmm. Would it not be easier to just go to the Philippines embassy and say she lost her passport so as to get a new one?

then she’d have no problems leaving Japan.

18 ( +28 / -10 )

Interesting, she can hardly speak any Japanese but she is working as an interpreter in Japan, I wonder what kind of interpreting work she is doing.

17 ( +30 / -13 )

Feudalism takes time to change, at least a couple of centuries. Unfortunately this results in such actions.

To get the passport back she’ll have to be on her hands and knees with forehead to the ground, the way of making a request from that era still remaining today.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

@titin.... but that would be a lie and it would do nothing to change what is happening.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Report the passport stolen

23 ( +26 / -3 )

It is illegal for employers to keep passports of foreigners who live in Japan as technical trainees. But the country has no penal regulations concerning those of other foreigners, with only the labor ministry's guidelines advising employers not to keep them.

So, a criminal organization is withholding the passport of one of their slave workers and it is the worker who is at fault? This is Japan!

it is illegal to withhold anybody’s passport unless they have been arrested and awaiting trial. This is true for any country in the world (except Japan). An employer has no right what-so-ever to even touch an employee’s passport, better less withhold it. It’s high time Japan stopped treating foreign employees as slaves. This company should be facing hefty fines and this woman should be compensated for any hardship and anxiety she has faced because of their criminal activity.

20 ( +26 / -6 )

"I can hardly speak Japanese. What will I do if something happens? I want to have my passport returned as soon as possible," said the woman in her 30s, who had been working as an interpreter at the firm, Advanceconsul Immigration Lawyer Office.

How does any of this make sense? She's been in Japan since April of 2017, got hired as an interpreter, and can hardly speak Japanese?

-6 ( +14 / -20 )

The firm holding her passport needs to be sued out of existence.

She should report her passport as stolen by the company and get a replacement from the embassy.

Companies cannot be allowed to behave in this way.

25 ( +27 / -2 )

Maybe she interprets from English to Tagalog. Anyway, it seems very discriminatory because it's very doubtful the company would do that with a US or UK (etc) national's passport. Just looked at the website and it looks pretty dodgy:

http://advanceconsul.com/new1.html

20 ( +23 / -3 )

The language of the Philippines is Filipino which the lady in question most likely translates into English for the company.

The staff withholding the passport is breaking criminal law in Japan and should be arrested...

11 ( +20 / -9 )

keeping the passport is a blackmail way to enslave more the foreigner.

sorry to say but this is only the tip of the iceberg.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

How does any of this make sense? She's been in Japan since April of 2017, got hired as an interpreter, and can hardly speak Japanese?

Translating Tagalog to English.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

http://advanceconsul.com/

This "company" is like any number of other businesses set up here to (lure) assist foreign workers to get jobs here in Japan.

I hope no one is fooled by the "legal" wording, as it is obviously in the business of making money off the backs of foreigners!

15 ( +17 / -2 )

It is illegal for employers to keep passports of foreigners who live in Japan as technical trainees. But the country has no penal regulations concerning those of other foreigners, with only the labor ministry's guidelines advising employers not to keep them.

It should be illegal for anyone to keep passports of anyone else. If you must, then make a photo copy of it, but keeping the passport under any circumstances is illegal.

But the country has no penal regulations concerning those of other foreigners, with only the labor ministry's guidelines advising employers not to keep them.

typical japan

12 ( +18 / -6 )

but keeping the passport under any circumstances is illegal.

sorry- I meant to say should be illegal and should be considered a crime punishable by jail time. My 2 cents

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Just like Saudi Arabia. Passports are kept by the employer's HR dept, and if you want to leave, they have to apply for an exit visa for you!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

How are the police not involved??

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I’d like to know if the company holding her passport has anything to say. Why are they doing it? Is it a form of revenge? Did she do something to make them mad?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The language of the Philippines is Filipino which the lady in question most likely translates into English for the company.

It's not so easy to say the language of the Philippines is "Filipino" as there are well over 150 different dialects and sub-languages. English is the 2nd official language of the Philippines as well.

It also says a lot, to me at least, that this agency is going about things half-arsed if they need to hire a interpreter that can not speak Japanese well enough to "translate" the languages that they supposedly support.

Being a professional interpreter is not an easy job by any means, and things really get "lost" in translation when there is a need for more than one person to "interpret" something from one language to another language to a 3rd language!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

"I can hardly speak Japanese. What will I do if something happens? I want to have my passport returned as soon as possible," said the woman in her 30s, who had been working as an interpreter at the firm, Advanceconsul Immigration Lawyer Office.

She can't speak Japanese, how can she working as interpreter at the firm? Her story sounds fishy.

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

They probably just lost it

2 ( +5 / -3 )

This is CLEARLY theft, as in STEALING, one should be able to report this to police who then should ACT ON the case & retrieve the STOLEN property.

This country can be so downright primitive & discriminatory its scary, this stealing of passports has been going on since the 80s at least WTF!!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

No wonder the number of westerners living in Japan dropped in the last 10 years.

Who wants to live in a society with such a medieval system?

I’m sure that people from southern asia will find more attractive locations to work in the future,this is not the way the treat human beings.

Japan has the economy of a G-whatever country but the comprehend or human rights of an ancient time.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

The language of the Philippines is Filipino which the lady in question most likely translates into English for the company.

The official language is called Filipino, but hardly seems fair to exclude the many other languages spoken, not least Cebuano.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I can’t understand how anyone or any organization can justifiably possess someone’s passport.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

so she is literally being held hostage in a foreign land . beyond creepy .

13 ( +13 / -0 )

with a visa sponsorship ,the foreigner is completely locked up. even if the company does illegal things , the worker can not sue because the visa expire at the company convenience.

usually foreign workers are young and naive, to allow the company to exploit them more without retaliation.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Speechless in Tokyo. If any one tries to keep your passport say no. If it is unreturned go to your embassy immediately for a replacement. I think immigration would give you a duplicate visa stamp in the new passport but not sure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The passport is property of the Philippine government. The act of confiscating passports should contradict international law.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

*contravene

4 ( +5 / -1 )

marcelitoToday  08:58 am JST

Maybe, Japan should stop allowing foreigners to work in Japan. So, they can't money "off the backs of Foreigners"

Yeah, maybe they should allowing them in , then we could all sit together and watch the J-economy fall off a cliff ...then who,s gonna pay the uyoku troll pensions when the finances dry up?...didnt think that one through huh...:)

Well said Marcelito,some xenophobes would love to go back in time right?

We live in a global society and homo sapiens in his history always moved through continents.

I find such kind of treatment for this poor filipino woman outrageous.

And something must be done about it.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Translating Tagalog to English.

Which still doesn't answer the question of why an individual living in another country for over two years can barely speak Japanese. Are people out there okay with foreigners coming to their home country to work, and never taking the time to learn the native language? I'm not talking fluency, but someone that can barely speak the native language, in a country where majority do not speak fluent English, how is that acceptable?

-25 ( +3 / -28 )

Filipino here, things like this usually happens to Filipinos working overseas not just in Japan. The most common cases for stuff like this in the Middle East where hundreds of Filipinos have to be rescued by the Philippine government, it's sad. It's like putting someone on a leash that prevents them from doing things the employer doesn't want. Agree with sourpuss, confiscating passports (unless they are government authorities) is actually a questionable thing from the get go. The most questionable part of this article is that a legal firm doing borderline illegal measures, they should know better. Good thing the company's name was posted, thanks JT

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Is it actually her passport? Most governments that issue passports also state that they own the passport. The passport is probably legally the property of the Philippine government. Could the Philippine government claim it has been stolen by the firm?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I would never work for a company who asks me to hand in my passport.

perhaps working conditions in Japan sucks.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Unless you get a job at 6M+ salary at a respected firm with a reputation to protect, you should not consider working in Japan. Much better opportunities would exist elsewhere.

Especially in SMBs who are abusive even to Japanese.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

i wonder if they ,d dare to keep an European Union or North American passport . . . not so tough then . . .

these people represent the bully in the classroom . . . same thing .

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Incorrect,the number of westerners compared to years previous 2011 dropped in number.

The number of other asian countries people increased dramatically, especially from Vietnam and Myamar.

And these people come here for necessity not for just pleasure.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

alwaysspeakingwisdomToday  09:26 am JST

"perhaps working conditions in Japan sucks"

Please don't come . Thanks.

perhaps you are one of those tyrant in this country , are you a racist?

12 ( +15 / -3 )

"I can hardly speak Japanese. What will I do if something happens? " said the woman in her 30s, who had been working as an interpreter at the firm, Advanceconsul Immigration Lawyer Office.

Wait, something ain't right with this here.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

with a visa sponsorship ,the foreigner is completely locked up. even if the company does illegal things , the worker can not sue because the visa expire at the company convenience.

No! The visa is the property of the person who applied for it and was accepted, the company does not "own" either it nor the passport, nor the person!

Far too many misunderstand that!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

all *Filipinos speak English.

FYI hell no they dont!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

As often seen in such stories there are vague spots and missing details making it hard to understand the timeline.

“arrived in Japan in April 2017. She started working in May for Advanceconsul, which she visited to renew her visa.”

For a minute I thought that meant she started working for Advanceconsul in May 2017, quite soon after she arrived in Japan. But earlier it’s written that she has an “employment contract they signed earlier this year”, so I guess it’s May of this year. And she stopped working there in early July, so was only working for them about two months. Did she quit because of the unpaid salary or were there other reasons?

Out of curiosity I’m wondering what kind of visa she held/what was she doing during her first two years in Japan. And why did she go to Advancecounsel to renew her visa, rather than immigration?

But none of the above has any bearing on the issue of the company holding her passport, which is an unacceptable practice. The government needs to fix any loopholes that allow that to continue.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The exact same trick human trafficker use. Passport possession.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

whoa since when did a private sector company have the right to keep somebodys passport? I know there are allot of Japanese who think they can lord over a gaijin, but this seems like a human rights violation. I would hope my embassy would step in, in such a situation for its citizens, but I wouldnt count on it. I would never have that problem; only thing a company could do is make a copy of my gajin card, but holding ones passport? wow. aint nobody holding mine, tell you that right now

9 ( +9 / -0 )

No! The visa is the property of the person who applied for it and was accepted, the company does not "own" either it nor the passport, nor the person!

Far too many misunderstand that!

In my passport it says its the property of the US government. I cant see how anybody could confiscate unless they have consular or immigration powers.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This is an illegal action and contract which violates the constitution.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

i wonder if they ,d dare to keep an European Union or North American passport . . . not so tough then . . .

these people represent the bully in the classroom . . . same thing .

This in another one of those situations where it does NOT pay to be a Japanese citizen. I dont think the Japanese, unless they are immigration or some authority, can confiscate a US passport. This ladies embassy is not getting involved?

aint nobody keeping my passport I can tell you that right now. This is an example of a country with power vs one that is lacking. Just how it is; if you dont care for your people, nobody else will either.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

My buddy, an American, back in the day was a partner in an eikaiwa school with a JP juku teacher scumbag. They had some dispute about sharing the profits and the JP guy went to immigration and said the employment visa that he had sponsored was fraudulent or something like that. My buddy had immigration at his doorstep giving him an ultimatum to leave Japan. The school floundered under the juku guy. In that sense permanent residency has benefits.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Most governments that issue passports also state that they own the passport

It clearly says on my passport, that the passport is the "property of the government of my country".

If I was her, I'd report the issue with the Philippine government and I'm sure a call from the Embassy to the company would persuade them to give back the passport. If not, I'm sure there are some procedures the Embassy can instigate.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Thats a different comparison; yes, in that case if your PR, they cant force you to leave. Lets say you want to leave, but they hold your passport...now what?

Many Japanese are at the mercy of some bully, its been that way since the feudal days. If another bully has more power, they submit.

Thats just how it is here.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If I was her, I'd report the issue with the Philippine government and I'm sure a call from the Embassy to the company would persuade them to give back the passport. If not, I'm sure there are some procedures the Embassy can instigate.

Probably not because they dont have any leverage, like the US or Europe does. They could use the media, but the Philippines depends on remittances from Japan

Stomp out the corruption in your home country, make it a desirable place to live and work. Fillipinos put up with so much BS. Hope someday their country will stop sending its citizens abroad to deal with this crap

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You are not supposed to photo copy a US passport, yet hotels and other establishments here in Japan do so if you try to do something simple as get a cell phone.

I think this company is in the wrong for this, and need to give the passport back.  Like others have said, she could also just go to the PI Embassy and say she lost it or simply tell them.  I am sure that the PI government has rules about what can and can't be done to their passports.

I think a bigger picture that may be missed here is this company.  I  have known native Japanese people who had employers who were really into their "personal business" so much so that they couldn't take time off to go out of country to attend a wedding without showing an invitation, or they have a need to know what they would be doing on their personal leave time.  I get the need to be able to be at work while needed and not leaving others behind to cover for you, but also you earn leave and time off and it should be spent at your convenience and not just for "National Holiday periods" along with all the rest.  Company seems like one of those employees, needing to be in everyone's business because they have always done so.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hotels etc can make a copy of your ARC (formally known as, dont know what its called now, residency card?)

I never submit a passport. as far as time off to visit home or whatever, thats none of their business. Yes, some are extra..want to know this or that. Simple lie will do, because its none of theirs....if I ask them about their business they get mad. Reciprocity is always appreciated, if your not willing to play by that rule then I wont play by yours. Save all the other for back home; doesnt work here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

if I was her I would get an immigration lawyer, and apply heat that way. Embassy and government workers tend to have a bias towards their own citizenry, unless high profile cases, at times, but would use that asset in tandem with other help.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Looks like everybody has decided that withholding her passport, for whatever reason, is a normal thing in Japan. It's not.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why would you hand over your passport to your employer in the first place? That makes no sense. They are your employer, not immigration or passport control officers.

If my employer asked for my passport, first I'd say "no" then I'd ask "why would you possible need my passport"?

I'd be happy to show them my passport, but I would never let anyone keep hold of it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

towingthelineToday  11:27 am JST

Why would you hand over your passport to your employer in the first place? That makes no sense. They are your employer, not immigration or passport control officers.

If my employer asked for my passport, first I'd say "no" then I'd ask "why would you possible need my passport"?

I'd be happy to show them my passport, but I would never let anyone keep hold of it.

I basically agree with you with this,but you have to consider that these people come here to escape from poverty or to give better live conditions for their families back in their countries,so they don't really have any options but to accept the inhuman conditions of many of these Japanese companies.

The point is that these company must learn to respect and give dignity to every foreigner,no matter their nationality,especially if they bring benefits to their pockets.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why would you hand over your passport to your employer in the first place? That makes no sense. They are your employer, not immigration or passport control officers.

Its because, I suspect, she is not married to a Japanese, otherwise they would not do it. Its a kind of hostage taking tactic. They can do, so they will do. If she pressed the issue, as I would of done, then they would of terminated her. I would of pressed that too, or let a union do it, but allot of these people are living in fear; fear of returning home to nothing, fear of the dependence others need from her, many fears. Nothing feeds a bully more than fear; sad thing is, they are the people who need the help the most. Japan is not one the list of the elitist places to challenge, but it should be.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

so they don't really have any options but to accept the inhuman conditions of many of these Japanese companies.

what you find allot though, is that the Japanese media and TV coverage of these immigrants portray them as greedy criminals and the employers as the victims. They reinforce the cycle, and its why many realtors wont rent to a gaijin and many employers, unless they can exploit you, wont hire a foreigner. True, some of the immigrants get the work visa, run off, overstay, engage in criminal activities but most dont.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@TheLongTermer

Hotels etc can make a copy of your ARC (formally known as, dont know what its called now, residency card?)

This is untrue; anyone with a resident card (the new ARC) is a resident of Japan and does not have to give hotel clerks any papers at all.

Hotel clerks who think they can demand it, like the employer of this Filipino woman with her passport, are wrong, but know that there will be little pushback in this society.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Educator60 wrote Today 10:33 am JST

Out of curiosity I’m wondering what kind of visa she held/what was she doing during her first two years in Japan. And why did she go to Advancecounsel to renew her visa, rather than immigration?

It's a firm that (supposedly) helps foreigners with renewing visa, passports, etc. It's actually useful if you don't have the time to go to immigration (for example, you can't ou don't want to take a weekday off from work to do so), though a bit costly.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Only one option, ask for a new one.

Is this Japan? Got mixed feeling bout the story.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

*Under the contract, the firm would keep her passport and the woman would need permission to retrieve it after making a written request. *The office would also determine the manner and period of withholding her passport, she said.

It is clearly stipulated in the contract that the firm would keep the woman's passport and that both parties signed and agreed upon it. Usually, employer keeps the employee's passports for safekeeping but it is also used as a leverage over the employee not to change employment before the contract expires. In case of the subject woman, she chose to hand over her passport to the employer for whatever reason stipulated in the document. Therefore, there is nothing illegal about it.

Middle East is the biggest single region that employs foreigner from around the world. In Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and in Kuwait, passport retention is illegal under the law but retention or withholding of passports is widely practiced by majority of employers in these countries. Japan on the other hand is neutral on this issue. The ministry of labor is neither for nor against against this rule.

In this case, she arrived here as a technical trainee. It says;

She arrived in Japan in April 2017. She started working in May for Advanceconsul, which she visited to renew her visa. She stopped working at Advaceconsul in early July.

In between April 2017 and May of this year, she worked as a technical trainee in some company. Either the technical program has ended or terminated, she chose not to return back to her country and instead applied in Advanceconsul as an interpreter in violation of her original purpose of coming to Japan. It can not be said that as an Interpreter, is part of her technical training course because under the Technical Training Program's general requirements, The technology, skills, or knowledge the Applicant intends to obtain in Japan must be difficult or impossible to obtain in the region where he/she resides.

Clearly she seek the employment of Advanceconsul for her own benefit in order to acquire a new guarantor for the extension of her Training Status of Residence (SOR). Technically, she is an illegal now because she's no longer considered a "trainee" . She must have made some deal with Advanceconsul for working until a specific time in exchange for a visa but the woman quits under contract. She should be intelligent enough to know that she is under contract for specific amount of time and that her employer is a LAW FIRM expert in immigration law. Going public is unwise, what she did was deception in front of all the readers of Kyodo News and this forum.

Most of these workers are motivated by greed and don't play by the book.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

So, a criminal organization is withholding the passport of one of their slave workers and it is the worker who is at fault? This is Japan!

Generalizing from one example to all of Japan is racist. Workers get screwed in all countries. You don't have to read more than a few days of US/UK papers to get stories of immigrant workers being treated badly. In the US/UK case, such stories are seen as the actions of individual employers, not the entire country.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Going public is unwise, what she did was admission of deception in front of all the readers of Kyodo News and this forum.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The Philippine Embassy/Consulate should be able to solve this problem in a trice!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

ScepticalToday 01:21 pm JST

In case of the subject woman, she chose to hand over her passport to the employer for whatever reason stipulated in the document. Therefore, there is nothing illegal about it.

I actually don't know Japanese law about this passport issue. But on a side note in most developed countries, writing something down and have it signed by 2 parties doesn't make it legal.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It is illegal for employers to keep passports of foreigners who live in Japan as technical trainees. 

It is illegal for employers to keep passports of foreigners, full stop. A passport is not technically the property of the individual, but the property of the government which issued it.

I think that the procedure would be that the Philippine Embassy would ask for it back, or the Japanese Ambassador in the Philippines be called to the Home Office requesting an explanation and return of their property.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Ex_ResToday 01:47 pm JST

It is illegal for employers to keep passports of foreigners, full stop. A passport is not technically the property of the individual, but the property of the government which issued it.

Exactly that - I am not too sure about other countries, but all my documents from Germany (Passport, Drivers License, etc.) are legally owned by the German Federal Republic. This is why the police of any other EU state will never confiscate my drivers license for example (which would be the standard procedure of the German police for major traffic offenses).

I am sure it would be a fun call for the Embassy of Germany to call human ressources of a small company to demand their passport back...

Or even better: Let the Japanese police fetch it in person

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I would have thought the passport technically remains the property of the country of issue.

In any case I’d think the legal firm has no right to retain it, report as stolen to the local police and her embassy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Unless you are criminally arrested or charged with a crime by law enforcement and requested you should never surrender your passport period.

It's as if she is being held hostage contacting her consulate should get it back I would hope.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

1) Illegal

2) Report it stolen at the Philippine Embassy.

3) Call the Japanese police and report it stolen

****This may not be relevant, but my friend told me that English language schools in China and Middle Eastern countries do the same thing all the time, so it isn't only Japan.***

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It's easy to say don't "I'd never hand over my passport!" but to her it might have seemed like her only chance of getting a job to support her family. Plus, I can imagine they said something like "Trust us, we Japanese are very kind and it's is a very safe country..."

People get lulled into a false sense of security here but I've been screwed over so many times I'm not surprised this happened. As the article notes, it's not illegal - but it should be! I can imagine this is going to play out in the Japanese media like "Oh, well it's legal and it was just a mistake, the women was confused..."

She might have done something illegal, but the company is jointly responsible if so. That has almost happened to me before, a Japanese manager tried to get me to do work that I didn't have the right visa for. They don't check because they don't care, immigration just waits until the visa gets renewed then kicks the gaijin out. Or police with nothing better to do make a big sting operation out of it - we've even seen in the news two groups of cops getting in each other's way! Either way the gaijin gets shafted and the Japanese involved get a talking to at most

9 ( +9 / -0 )

1) Illegal

2) Report it stolen at the Philippine Embassy.

3) Call the Japanese police and report it stolen

****This may not be relevant, but my friend told me that English language schools in China and Middle Eastern countries do the same thing all the time, so it isn't only Japan.***

Well this is relevant,because Japan being part of the G-7 and looking at the western democracy shouldn’t have some middle eastern country or China as an example.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

My company go to immigration for me to renew my visa, so there are times such as that when an employer might require your passport.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

She should file a police report and then file criminal charges along with a lawsuit.

The types of employment abuses should not be tolerated.

Her embassy should be able to help her get travel papers out of the country.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is untrue; anyone with a resident card (the new ARC) is a resident of Japan and does not have to give hotel clerks any papers at all.

I think, once again, (as all things Japan are) it depends on who you ask and what time of the day it is. Seems they always have a paper, issued by the city, prefecture or national government, which one is the authority? perhaps I should ask for a copy of their rule...or law?

Sometimes I comply, other times storm out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry, but if you give your passport to anyone other than immigration or other government authority, you're not a very smart person. Especially if an employer tell you it's a condition of your employment.  HUGE red flag!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Really the question is to this legal service firm is "Who do you think you are"?

I also notice that it is a legal service firm. Since November 2018 we have all noticed something very amiss with law / rule of law in Japan. This is another example.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Isn't this a form of slavery? Or at least medieval indenture?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This is the immigration office that's holding her passport.

http://advanceconsul.com/index.html

Would you like these kind of people to legally represent you for visa and immigration problems?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

As if more proof were needed as to why Japan ranks so poorly in terms of human rights, and so high in terms of human rights' abusers. It also shows why Japan's lip-service laws are disgraceful. It's, once again, against the law but with no punishment, meaning, ultimately, that any and all similar laws have no meaning. Hopefully this makes a LOT more international news. This is not "regrettable", it's downright shameful.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Medieval times.

And the Ministery on national news says it accepts that type of slavery which makes Japan like Saudi Arabia.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

She can't speak Japanese, how can she working as interpreter at the firm? Her story sounds fishy.

The only thing fishy is your "logic."

9 ( +11 / -2 )

There is a lot of weird stuff on that place's website that should raise some red flags.

To begin its worth noting that in Japan a "Legal Services firm" is not the same as a "Law Firm" (ie a firm of lawyers).

The guy who seems to run this place is an administrative scrivener (行政書士), which allows him to deal with immigration matters. He is not a lawyer (弁護士)despite calling himself that in English (though this in itself isn't too misleading since most administrative scriveners working in immigration call themselves "Immigration lawyers" despite the fact that they cannot appear in court).

Its also worth noting from the website that this isn't really a "Firm" in the sense of a big business organization. It looks like a solo practitioner (there is only one administrative scrivener listed and I assume he runs everything), with a staff of foreign translators presumably in the same position as the one in the article.

Even weirder is that if you look on the Company establishment tab on the website, all of the business licenses it has are for restaurants, night clubs and bars. That is really strange even for a "legal services firm".....

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Kidnapping or hostage taking is still illegal, is it not? Someone needs to take this company, and maybe the Japanese government, to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"It is common for legal firms to keep foreigners' passports when renewing visas." Embassies and consulates renew visas, not legal firms...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@JJ: Spot on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My company go to immigration for me to renew my visa, so there are times such as that when an employer might require your passport.

Oh! this is very naive thinking. If your visa needs renewal you need to do it yourself or at least go to the office with the employer. Most countries require one to show up, so it is surprising that a company can do this for you. Easy to abuse, eh?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"It is common for legal firms to keep foreigners' passports when renewing visas." Embassies and consulates renew visas, not legal firms...

When you have visa problems you go to legal firms like this Filipino woman.  It is easier to use a legal firm than do yourself.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Even weirder is that if you look on the Company establishment tab on the website, all of the business licenses it has are for restaurants, night clubs and bars. That is really strange even for a "legal services firm".....

This is a con job! It could be a bait and switch or the lady may know more than she is saying.

From your explanation, it seems like he gets visas for women for 3rd world countries to work in the entertainment business like escort, hostesses, dancers and etc.

He probably uses all those business licenses to sponsor the women with different types of visas to seem credible.

Whether they are working outside of their visa limitations is the important point.

I knew a Thai woman and a Chinese woman who both claimed to work at restaurants during the day and the red light district at night or days off.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why are some people so hung up about Japanese fluency?

Which still doesn't answer the question of why an individual living in another country for over two years can barely speak Japanese. Are people out there okay with foreigners coming to their home country to work, and never taking the time to learn the native language? I'm not talking fluency, but someone that can barely speak the native language, in a country where majority do not speak fluent English, how is that acceptable?

If she was employed to translate Tagalog to English then that is what she was recruited for. This is an international city, filled with thousands of tourists unable to speak Japanese. And her employer didn't seem concerned about no Japanese skills.

Personally I have always found some foreigners in Japan with fluent Japanese skills to be real bores. We know who we are talking about.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@titin sounds easy but in order for them to reissue a passport, one should make an affidavit of loss plus they also have a copy of his/herpassport.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

rainyday wrote Today 04:25 pm JST

Even weirder is that if you look on the Company establishment tab on the website, all of the business licenses it has are for restaurants, night clubs and bars. That is really strange even for a "legal services firm".....

That's a misunderstanding. That means they can help someone obtain a license to run these kind of shops, not that the firm owns these licenses. Also, under that it's also written they can help with licenses for "construction, homebuilding, dispatching, antiquary sales, industrial waste, wind sales, sex customs and special corporations" (translated by Google translate, so take it with a grain of salt, please).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's a misunderstanding. That means they can help someone obtain a license to run these kind of shops, not that the firm owns these licenses. Also, under that it's also written they can help with licenses for "construction, homebuilding, dispatching, antiquary sales, industrial waste, wind sales, sex customs and special corporations" (translated by Google translate, so take it with a grain of salt, please).

Oh, that is a good point, my bad, the website is a bit confusingly laid out. Also it makes more sense that way!

Still seems a bit shady to be holding onto people’s passports though!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Numan: "This is a con job!"

So is the whole trainee program. Or if not a con job, then a well-recognized human trafficking ring, which even the government has more or less admitted to.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Every time I hear someone (Usually a JT regular) say how racist the U.S. is.....

At least WE have LAWS that make it ILLEGAL to discriminate....

The one item SCAP unintentionally left out of the draft JP constitution... Equal rights regardless of race.

Shame on us...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Most probably Advance Company sponsored/facilitated her trainee visa. Them withholding her passport is understandable as there are many trainees who left their sponsors to find better paying jobs. This happened in the past since most employers then didn't know sponsorship rules. Nothing bad to better oneself but walk by the rules. Seems like Advance Company is purely human resource, call it con job if you like but that 's business. Those trainees do know how much they're going to receive before they left their homeland. And for those who haven't experienced working in factories, sad to note that legal Jresidents when working among the trainees are sort of underdogs since most overtime work is given to the trainees to compensate for their low hourly rate. And yes to the observants, how can she be an interpreter if she doesn't know Japanese. Looks like she got a visa for people with specialized skills and that's dubious. And not sure if the Phil Embassy would release a new passport if ever she declared hers is lost. She'll be asked a lot of questions and the embassy staff would finally realize that she's a sort of ran away.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Let's protest!!

Their phone numbers: 045 - 515 - 6476 and 080 - 3444 - 0296

Let help her!!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

NO employer should be holding an employees passport. Period.

the embassy staff would finally realize that she's a sort of ran away

Ran away.?! These are not the Victorian times. These are not the times of slavery. If you describe this as running away then it is obvious this employer is enslaving staff.

Just because you are on a "sponsored" employment programme every employee is entitled to leave a job. And like it or not Japan, employees can just leave immediately if they so wish.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

passports are the property of the country, in this case the Philippines. The governments need to be involved

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An entry visa was granted because she had to work for the company. Some take advantage of this and escape the Employer for some other plan up their sleeve.

some just disappear away into the crowd to do something else. It will be difficult for the Employer to get another foreign employee because the Embassy limit how many you can import. What happened to the previous employee? Her visa is to work for them - she may never go back to her country. She will just dissipate.

this happens all the time in the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If the woman goes to her own embassy, they will demand the passports return.

The Japanese government will not allow this company to cause differences of opinion between the embassy and the Japanese government.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not only is the passport the property of the issuing country, but any contract can be terminated- otherwise it is not a contract. A contract is an agreement between two parties which must include a termination clause stipulating the terms of notice when one party wishes to end the agreement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An entry visa was granted because she had to work for the company. Some take advantage of this and escape the Employer for some other plan up their sleeve.

Regardless, she is not the property of that company. Ive also experienced Japanese who think that the foreigner is their property, even in relationships, and start to make all kinds of demands, like they have some authority or control, when in reality they dont. Making a copy of the registration card and passport should be all that is required. If she illegally overstays, then the immigration authorities can be notified using that info, as well as verifying her immi status. Holding ones passport is like holding that person for ransom or hindering free travel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I can hardly speak Japanese. What will I do if something happens? I want to have my passport returned as soon as possible," said the woman in her 30s, who had been working as an interpreter at the firm, Advanceconsul Immigration Lawyer Office.

How does any of this make sense? She's been in Japan since April of 2017, got hired as an interpreter, and can hardly speak Japanese?

She's probably enterpreting from Tagalog and English and vice versa. There are so many native English/ Japanese speakers in Tokyo streets that can handle English/Japanese enterpretations. Why would a firm go for a Filipino to do that kind of work?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Them withholding her passport is understandable as there are many trainees who left their sponsors to find better paying jobs. This happened in the past since most employers then didn't know sponsorship rules. Nothing bad to better oneself but walk by the rules

by international standards, sorry, that doesnt fly, so its not excusable or understandable. Its a problem for an agency with authority, and the employer has no immigration authority and cannot enforce any laws. They can report her to immigration, if she fails to report her new job etc, but have no right or authority to deny her free travel or movement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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